Vienna, 17 February 2012 Press release

Waldner: “Strong partners for nuclear disarmament - the United Nations and its Vienna headquarters”

Austrian State Secretary at the opening of UN Disarmament Bureau and the CTBTO ceremony with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Vienna, 17 February 2012 – “Nuclear weapons should no longer have a place in our global society. They are not a guarantee for security, but a serious threat to world peace. We trust the United Nations as a close partner in our commitment for global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and we support the 5 point plan of UN Secretary General on these issues”, Austrian State Secretary Dr. Wolfgang Waldner said after the celebrations to mark the 15th anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), also attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and CTBTO Chief Tibor Tóth. Waldner also officially opened the Vienna bureau of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) together with the UN Secretary General.

“The use of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world would have catastrophic global effects for all of us. It is quite simply irresponsible that the Damocles sword of total nuclear destruction is still hanging over us all more than twenty years after the end of the Cold War. In the 21st century, the international community must be in a position to regulate international relationships without a permanent mutual menace to our very existence. A system based on nuclear deterrents cannot be stable in the long-term”, the State Secretary said.

Austria is exerting every pressure to bring about a continuation and a revival of global disarmament efforts. “Nuclear disarmament is a collective responsibility, not only for the nation states, but also for civil society. We need the support of organisations such as the CTBTO and UNODA on the long path towards achieving this goal. Austria has made and is making a special contribution to this effort as a location where United Nations organizations are based, but also through voluntary contributions and with work content”, Waldner said.

In addition to the largest international body for nuclear issues, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) has also had its headquarters in Vienna since 1997. Since there is still no international agreement prohibiting nuclear weapons, the IAEO and CTBTO are only the first steps, but for this very reason the most important steps on the road to a world without nuclear weapons. The United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) is in New York. “Since nuclear disarmament appears to be an ever-more urgent matter and demands close cooperation with the relevant organisations, we are delighted that the proposal made by the Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger to set up a UNODA bureau in Vienna, has been positively received by the UN”,  Waldner concluded.

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